Azimio’s rhetoric in Raila Odinga’s presidential pursuit


The head of the ODM Raila Odinga. [Boniface okendo, Standard]

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being ruled by inferiors” – Plato

On December 10, 2021, the final convention of the Jamboree Azimio la Umoja was held at the Kasarani Sports Center where Raila Odinga officially declared his candidacy for the 2022 presidency. His statement draws on the Platonic discourse on governance and leadership. It is a demonstration of unparalleled sagacity of Raila to forge audacity Azimio la Umoja initiative.

His decision to continue the journey to the land of dreams of “Canaan” thus recalls a liberation struggle that Raila hopes to achieve by winning the presidency.

As I will argue, the Azimio movement is an act of persuasion in the rhetoric of discourse. Following the 2018 handshake with HE President Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila’s political message has undergone a drastic change in tone, with its militant and inflammatory tactics abandoned and the ‘nation comes first’ approach. adopted.

Azimio la Umoja or the quest for peace and unity is a bugle call that attempts to consolidate Raila’s traditional political base with handshake partnership while also accommodating other political outfits.

In this attempt to change the brand, Raila offers to reach out to his supporters so that with him as head of the caravan, the stay in the Promised Land is on the right track.

In his autobiography “Flames of freedom”, Raila details how the Kenyan dream was from the start truncated by the urgency of selfishness channeled through tribal politics. His dream is that for a prosperous nation a time will come for a national conversation about rebuilding the foundations laid by the nation’s founding fathers.

As Muthoka Mutie argued in her article, Contested pasts and the poetics of recall: the politics of consciousness, Raila builds an identity with the mystical image parallel to Joshua. His father Jaramogi Oginga introduced himself as Moses in “Not yet Uhuru”. Raila’s political journey is a continuation of his father’s march to Canaan. In a biblical allusion, Raila enthusiastically preaches through the Azimio la Umoja Sermon as a political plan as he attempts a fifth stab at the presidency.

Raila therefore uses the power of persuasion of the Azimio rhetoric to galvanize its political base as an assurance that the reality of Canaan is at hand. Azimio is a charm offensive that radiates the hope of improving the lives of all Kenyans.

Further on, the Azimio movement adopted “InawezekanaAs a slogan similar to Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” used in his 2008 US presidential elections. Inawezekana slogan is the conduit to win over its disillusioned supporters who have long suffered harsh torments in opposition to bend a parallel narrative to the desert trek that the Israelites endured for 40 years.

Unlike the other political formations used by Raila; CORD (Coalition of restoration of Democracy) 2013 and NASA National Super Alliance) 2017, Azimio is a more robust and reconciling platform that seeks to persuade all for the common good.

After concluding a truce with President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Azimio seeks to deconstruct the bogeyman stature designed by his rivals to undermine him politically. It is for the first time that he is standing for election as a protagonist.

Writer Mutiso Kiio is a Masters student at Kenyatta University, Department of Literature.

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